“Twilight of the Superheroes”
September 11 Fiction
On September 11, 2001, hijackers crashed two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center buildings in downtown Manhattan, New York City. While hijackers also crashed a plane into the Pentagon and another into a field in rural Pennsylvania, the attacks on the World Trade Center produced the most casualties and elicited the most significant public response. Published in the spring of 2006, Deborah Eisenberg’s “Twilight of the Superheroes” was one of the first fictionalizations of the attacks, along with Ian McEwan’s Saturday (2005), Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), Frederic Beigbeder’s Windows on the World (2006), and Dear Zoe (2006) by Philip Beard. While each of these authors interprets September 11 differently, all have found it difficult to personalize the tragedy and make sense of it. Eisenberg has tackled this issue by conveying the effects of the event on Lucien as an individual as well on Nathaniel and his friends as a group. Several of these authors have attempted to catalogue the effect of the September 11 attack on the general character of New York City too. Lucien’s reminisces about the changing nature of New York, for example, is Eisenberg’s attempt to explain how the attacks transformed the entire city. Eisenberg weaves Nathaniel’s Armenian friend, Delphine, into her narrative, suggesting that non-Americans felt the impact of September 11 too. The body of September 11 literature is still very young, and “Twilight of the Superheroes” is thus a unique contribution that will shape the way future writers and historians will interpret the event.
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